Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
An informal meeting of the working groups "Enlargement and countries leading EU accession negotiations" (COELA) and "Western Balkans" (COWEB) to the Council of the European Union was held on 1 March 2018 in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. The event was part of the calendar of events of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Guests at the COELA format were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of European Affairs of Turkey, Ambassador Selim Yenel, the EU's Director General for EU Accession to Montenegro's European Affairs Ministry, Jelena Bursan, and Tanya Mircevic, Serbia's chief negotiator with the EU. The participants presented the current developments and expectations of their countries regarding the forthcoming publication of the European Commission's progress reports on European integration. The publication of the reports is expected in April this year.
The delegates from the two working groups also took part in a discussion on "The Balkans and the EU - the view from Sofia", jointly organized by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Moderator of the event was Vessela Tcherneva, head of the ECFR Sofia office. Among the panelists were the Director of the Institute for Economics and International Relations Lyubomir Kyuchukov, the Director of the Sofia Security Forum Yordan Bozhilov, the President of Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) Julian Popov and Sasha Bezuhanova, Chairman of the MOVE.BG civic platform for debate and joint action. The discussion was devoted to the current challenges facing the region and its importance to the Union's security, stability and economic prosperity. Participants highlighted the key position of the Balkans in relation to the further development of the European energy policy and the strengthening of the energy security of the continent. Emphasis was put on the importance of digital technologies as a possible universal solution to a wide range of challenges in the region, both in the security and economic areas as well as the social aspect.